|Elevation||2,543 m (8,343 ft)|
|Time zone||PST (UTC+5)|
|Number of Union councils||1|
Ziarat (Urdu: زیارت) is the capital of Ziarat District, Balochistan, Pakistan. It is located at 30°22'47N 67°43'38E with an altitude of 2543 metres (8346 feet) and is a famous holiday resort of Balochistan. Ziarat (literally ziarat is an Islamic shrine) was the summer residence of the chief commissioner of Baluchistan, and sanatorium for the European troops. it is 8850 ft. above the sea. and is about 125 km from Quetta. The hills around are well-wooded and picturesque. Khilafat Hills are the highest peak with an altitude of 11.400 feet (3.475 m) in Ziarat. More tourists visit the place in summer.
Pakistan’s largest juniper forest is located in this reserve. The forest ecosystem is of inestimable value for biodiversity conservation. It is also of great ecological significance, providing local, regional and global benefits.
Declaration date: 2013
Administrative authorities: Balochistan Forest and Wildlife Department
Surface area: 111 852 ha
Core area: 11 243 ha
Buffer zone: 60 519 ha
Transition area: 40 090 ha
Location Latitude: 30°21’46.27”N – 30°25’57.70”N
Longitude: 67°18’30.51”E – 68°09’29.78”E
Central point: 30°23′54″N – 067°44′00″E.
The biosphere reserve is home to the largest area of juniper forest (juniperus excelsa polycarpus) in Pakistan, covering about 110 000 ha. It is believed that the forest is the second largest of its kind in the world. The juniper tree species found there are of global significance because of their advanced age and slow growth rate. In fact, the junipers of Ziarat are among the oldest living trees in the world. Although no dendrological study has yet been conducted, according to one estimate the age of a mature tree can exceed 1 500 years. Local people refer to the trees as ‘living fossils’ and this remarkable longevity allows research into past weather conditions in the region, making the species of special significance for climate change and ecological studies.
The juniper forest ecosystem of Ziarat provides a habitat for endangered wildlife species and supports a rich
diversity of plant species. Because of its rich biodiversity the different areas of the ecosystem have been assigned the status of protected areas, including wildlife sanctuaries and game reserves. The mountain ranges, including Khalifat mountain, consist of a core habitat reportedly hosting several globally important wild species, among them Suleman Markhor, Urial, black bears and wolves. The forests also serve as a habitat for a number of other species: Afghan Pica, foxes, jackals and several species of migratory birds. However, various anthropological factors such as illegal hunting, human habitations and livestock grazing have encroached on the wildlife habitats leading to their fragmentation.
The human population, distributed across various sub-tribes and clans, is concentrated in valleys, although small settlements are visible on mountain slopes. There are over 100 000 people living within or in close proximity to the biosphere reserve, most of whom are agro-pastoralists by profession. Almost 40 per cent of the population migrate in winter to summer abodes in Harnai for a period of three to four months.
Livestock was formerly the primary source of livelihoods in the reserve. Today, its prominence has been displaced by the development of agriculture and in particular the promotion of horticultural crops such as apple and cherry orchards.
Ziarat and the juniper valleys around offer good opportunity hiking and trekking. Various gorges also offer adventure and fun during the summer. It is also becoming popular for a taste of snow fall during the winter. Besides, the town itself offers hiking and trekking opportunities.
Ziarat is the location of the Ziarat residency where Jinnah lived and spent his last days of life, Ziarat is a famous tourist site. The Residency was constructed in 1892. It is an important building, the whole building is actually a wooden structure beautifully designed and has great architectural importance. It was originally meant to be a sanatorium, and it was converted into the summer residence of the Agent of the Governor General. It is now a national monument. The residency catches the tourists' attention due to its unique location and the wonderful hilly surroundings.
There is a small dam and the valley is full of fruits in summer and winter cherry in summer and apple in winter. The weather is really pleasant during summer time and the local people are hospitable, but in winter the weather is severe and it is more difficult to survive. During summer time the apple and cherry gardens provide a pleasant view for tourists.
a walk place the Chasma Walk. Between the ever-ascending hills and the deep ravine, there is a mile-long stretch of flat land ideal for a peaceful walk. This is the "Chashma Walk" which leads to the spring or a “Chashma" that provide water for the town.
The highest point where a car can go is Prospect Point. The view from Prospect Point is rewarding. It lies at a height of 2713 metres above sea level and is 6 km from Ziarat. The road is metalled, but a walk is recommended. Once at the peak with wind whistling through the forest one can see the valley stretch out in undulating slopes in front. From a nearby cliff, one can clearly see the highest peak of these hills known as Khalefat, which rises to a height of 3487 metres. There is a small rest house situated nearby. Advance booking can be made through the office of Deputy Commissioner of Ziarat.
Other places including Sandeman Tangi It is just 4 km from Ziarat. It is a dramatic waterfall cascading down the rocks and provides fun to the visitors. Chutair Valley/Tangi After 13 km from Ziarat on way to Loralai is the beautiful Chutair valley. It is a 30 minutes drive to Chutair from Ziarat. There are green picnic spots in the valley. There is also a rest house in case one wants to stay longer. The crude and rustic huts made with the bark of juniper trees in which the inhabitants of the area live, are strikingly different from dwellings in other villages. Nearby is Chutair Tangi which is worth visiting.
THE GORGES: Balochistan is an arid land which receives very low rainfall annually.
But innumerable natural springs known as KAREZ and streams are found in most of the areas. There are more than a half dozen gorges around Ziarat formed by natrul karez spring water falling through narrow opening amongst the mountain rocks producing a dramatic effect. The famous gorges along the road to Ziarat are Chutair Tangi, Kahn Tangi, Kawas Tangi, Faran Tangi and the Sandman Tangi Another beautiful Place in Ziarat is Dumiara which is a water fall. Dumiara is 13 km away from Ziarat city. The Ziarat valley road after passing through BB Khrwari led to Dumiara. The road is narrow but pavement road led to this. The road move through beautiful mountains and also have some steep and dangerous turns. The water which fall from high mountains is clean and is very cool.
Ziarat city have a number of hotels. The most famous are PTDC Motel, Shalimar hotel, Paradise hotel, classic hotel. The PTDC Motel Ziarat is situated in the heart of this picturesque town. Its rooms, comprising both comfortable huts and blocks, overlook the lawns. Shalimar Hotel is the major commercial accommodation in Ziarat. it is also the only place which keeps alive round the year even in the harsh winters – when the whole valley puts on the white blanket. Both Shalimar Hotel and PTDC are on the main Ziarat road but on the opposite corners of the city with former being on the entrance when coming from Quetta. The Green juniper restaurant is a restaurant situated on the mountain, a side of the ziarat valley road. whole Ziarat city can be seen from this restaurant.
The local residents of Ziarat are Pashtun, consisting of Kakar, Syed, Raisani and Dotani Dummer (Kakar). Among these, Kakar is the largest tribe, accounting for 70% of the total population. Ziarat is mostly occupied by Essakhail, panezai or sarangzai tribes . Kakar is further divided into different kinds of sub casts including Essakhail, Panezai, Sarangzai, Yasinza, and Ahmadkhail. Among these, Essakhail, Domer and Sarangzai constitute the highest population of the green valley of the Pashtun belt.
The shrine of Baba Kharwari is 8 km from Ziarat town. A member of Sarang zai tribe, his name was Tahir. He became a disciple of Nana Sahib and a number of miracles are attributed to him. He is buried in a valley about 8 km from Ziarat. A large number of people visit his shrine and offer sacrifices in his memory. During the Eid festival, the tribesmen gather around the shrine and hold wrestling and marksmanship competitions.
The shrine of Nau Gaza Baba is 1 km from Ziarat town. It is surrounded by big graveyards. Nau Gaza Baba's real name was Kareemdad. He was a member of the 'Esakhail Sanerzai' tribe. When he died, his body became large by nine(Nau) yards(gaz)therefore people started to call him Nau Gaza Baba. Many people visit the shrine to pray.
|Climate data for Ziarat|
|Average high °C (°F)||5.3
|Daily mean °C (°F)||−0.8
|Average low °C (°F)||−6.8
|Precipitation mm (inches)||46
|Source: Climate-Data.org, altitude: 2519m|
On the morning of 29 October 2008 at around 4 am the town and surrounding areas were struck by an earthquake. The first tremor was a 6.2 magnitude lasting a couple of seconds, followed at a magnitude 6.4 tremor lasting almost 30 seconds destroying many mud houses and several government buildings.
Neighbouring villages were also badly affected by the earthquake. Over 50,000 people were made homeless and 300 feared dead. Landslides had cut-off many roads and accessibility to the area was made more difficult. Pakistani military helicopters were used to reach mountainous and remote locations, where some villages had been cut off by landslides. The scale of the disaster is quite extensive but much of the experience learned from the October 2005 earthquake which struck northern Pakistan was effectively put into place. The aftershocks were also felt in the city of Quetta causing widespread alarm. The rescue and relief squad of Chiltan Adventurers Association Balochistan sponsored by Pakistan Customs Quetta distributed the relief goods to the affected mountainous and remote areas, the same team rescued and helped the survivors jointly with the co-operation of the Chinese search and rescue team in Balakot earthquake 2005. Many of the same group also helped survivors of the 2005 Kashmir earthquake, which killed over 75,000 people. In 1935, Quetta suffered almost complete destruction in 1935 Balochistan earthquake which claimed the lives of about 30,000 people.
- Ziarat – Encyclopædia Britannica Eleventh Edition
- Silver Jubilee Juniper Defender Award
- "Climate: Ziarat - Climate graph, Temperature graph, Climate table". Climate-Data.org. Retrieved 11 November 2013.
- Raven, Nell. (2008-10-29) Pakistan quake kills 160. Telegraph.co.uk. Retrieved on 2012-01-25.
- 300 feared dead in Pakistan quake – BBC. BBC News (2008-10-31). Retrieved on 2012-01-25.